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North Korea: Witness to Transformation

Wheat Mission Ministries

by | December 29th, 2012 | 07:00 am
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We are always interested in news from organizations doing work in North Korea. Wheat Mission Ministries sent us a Christmas card, so we thought we would pass along their website.

Founded in 1989 by Sandra Suh and based in LA, the organization was involved in feeding programs as soon as the regime opened to the door to NGOs in 1996. It currently pursues two distinct ministries. The humanitarian one includes food factories in Pyongyang and Sariwon (noodles and bread), a Sariwon orphanage project, renovating daycare centers as well as delivery of aid goods—including particularly food—through Rason; it clearly partners with organizations on both side of the border.

The medical ministry caught our eye because of what looked to us like astute judgment about how to spend scarce resources. According to the website, “the North Korean government asked WMM to build a physical rehabilitation hospital in the capital city of Pyongyang.  However, during the feasibility study, it became quite clear that the real need for the North Korean healthcare industry was not a new building but rather new medical technologies and skills.” Rather than expend money on bricks and mortar, the organization partnered with the North Korean Medical Association to deliver training and lectures to medical personnel. Its approach to day care centers is similar; rather than building new structures they seek to renovate existing ones.